Park Hill Stakes Betting

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The biggest highlight of the annual racing schedule at Doncaster Racecourse is the four-day St. Leger Festival held each September, featuring one of the three British Triple crown events, the ladbrokes St. Leger Stakes. Among the many great races leading up to this classic is the £100,000 Park Hill Stakes, a Group 2 flat horse race conducted on DFS Ladies’ Day, the second day of the Festival.

In fact, the Park Hill Stakes is colloquially referred to as the “Fillies’ St. Leger,” a reference to its being open only to fillies and mares aged three years and older. It covers a distance of one mile, six furlongs and 132 yards on the left-handed turf of the Doncaster track.

Three-year-old runners carry eight stone six pounds, while those aged four years and upwards must bear nine-stone-four. There are penalties applied for winners of races since 28th February of the current season, amounting to five pounds for Group 1 victors and three pounds for those successful in Group 2 events.

When the event was inaugurated in 1839, it was named after Park Hill, an estate formerly owned by Anthony St. Leger, who founded Doncaster’s defining Classic race in 1776. From its first running until the 1991 edition, the Park Hill Stakes was restricted to three-year-old fillies and mares, which accounts at least in part for the absence of any double winners in its history.

In 1971, the Park Hill Stakes was initially designated as a Group 2 race, but it was reclassified to the Group 3 level in 1991. At that time, A. F. Budge was the sponsor, following in the footsteps of Kikuka Sho. Two years later, Worthington Best Bitter became the primary backer before the title role was passed to Stones Bitter in 1995.

From 1998 onward, the parade of changing partners included Constant Security, Rothmans Royals, National Stud Never Say Die Club, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing and Goffs/DBS. The event regained Group 2 status in 2004 and the current sponsor, U.K. furniture retailer DFS (Direct Furnishing Supplies), came on board in 2009.

Among the early champions appearing in the Park Hill Stakes was Pretty Polly, the outstanding chestnut filly from Ireland that piled up 22 wins in her two dozen career outings. The filly’s victory here came in 1904, the same year she took the Fillies’ Triple crown.

The most successful jockeys in the Park Hill Stakes, with six wins apiece, were Sim Templeman and John Osborne, Jr., who both had their rides before the end of the 19th century. More recently, Willie Carson opened the 1980s by claiming three victories in four years, and then Steve Cauthen pulled off the hat-trick in 1989-91.

It took Pat Eddery from 1987 to 2003 to get his three triumphs here, but topping them all is Frankie Dettori with four wins in 18 years. He started with Anna of Saxony in 1993, added noble Rose in 1995 and Echoes in Eternity in 2004, and then surged ahead of his contemporaries aboard Eastern Aria in 2010.

Two trainers share the top of the leaderboard for the Park Hill Stakes with seven wins each. John Scott got his in the 19th century with Mickleton Maid in 1839, Sally in 1842, Peggy in 1843, Canezou in 1848, Honeysuckle in 1854, Hepatica in 1858 and Toison d’Or in 1869. During the 20th century, Noel Murless duplicated the feat with Bara Bibi in 1954, Collyria in 1959, Bracey Bridge in 1965, dead-heat winner Pink Gem in 1967, Parmelia in 1970, Attica Meli in 1972 and Mil’s Bomb in 1974.

Despite the opening of the race to older entrants two decades ago, three-year-olds have continued to dominate the Park Hill Stakes with a dozen victories in the last 20 years. Anna of Saxony was the first four-year-old to succeed, followed by five others, including the most recent, Eastern Asia. Only two five-year-olds have managed a win here—Sweet Stream in 2005 and Allegretto in 2008—which might actually be considered quite promising, given how few are even entered.

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